Boulder City Magazine® September 2009 Issue
|Boulder City History
by Roseanne Shoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel
Historians engage in looking back into time in attempts to understand, evaluate and often to interpret the past. Artists, however, apply their sensibilities to capturing the essence of the present through writing, storytelling, painting, and photographs.
Boulder City Magazine®
|In the process, they provide a true sense of what was in the human heart at any particular time. One of Nevada’s most important documentarians of the present, and therefore contributors to its history, was a Boulder City man who spent most of his career painting and photographing the story of what he observed as the vanishing Southwest.
Cliff Segerblom began his career in 1938 when he was hired by the Bureau of Reclamation to become the official photographer of the newly-completed Hoover Dam. He worked with photographers from across the country, including the now famous Ansel Adams who, while in Boulder City, used Segerblom’s darkroom. Segerblom also performed government-related work as a photo-documentarian of major improvements of the Panama Canal and a painter invited to capture the splashdown of Apollo 12. One of Segerblom’s paintings from that collection hangs in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Although Segerblom was pulled away from Southern Nevada on government projects, he always returned to continue his work capturing the vanishing southwest in his paintings and photographs. His paintings included the El Dorado Gold Field; the Last Picture Show, Caliente; and Boulder Canyon, Lake Mead; where, according to Segerblom “Boulder Dam was supposed to be built.”
Along with his paintings, he and his wife, Gene, partnered to produce very successful articles and photographs documenting the history of Nevada. Segerblom has also been exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. Cliff and Gene have been published in Nevada Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Life, Time, Arizona Highways, and National Geographic.
Segerblom not only founded the photography department at UNLV, he also taught aspiring artists his unique ability to capture life through photographs. He has also given Boulder City great esteem through his numerous awards and citations including the prestigious Governor’s Art Award.
On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.
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